You can still contribute to the Afghanistan project, via the CRN page.

AFGHAN ASYLUM-SEEKERS STUCK IN APPROVAL BACKLOG

Afghan refugees arrive at TorrejÛn de Ardoz military base in Madrid, Spain – 19  Aug 2021

As of Saturday 20 November, according to US federal officials, an estimated 28,000 Afghans have applied for temporary admission to the US for humanitarian reasons. The surge in special entry humanitarian visas came just as the Taliban recaptured Afghanistan. However, only about 100 have thus far been approved. Immigrant support groups have expressed their concern at the slow pace of approvals. US Citizenship and Immigration Services have been grappling with the surge in applications but promised to increase their staff to address the growing backlog. The slow pace of approvals has taken a financial toll on many refugees and/or their sponsors who have paid hundreds of dollars in processing fees. Another challenge is the requirement for in-person interviews. It means that those still in Afghanistan need to travel to another country with an operating US embassy as part of the screening process. US officials warned that the process could take months and that there is no guarantee that approval will be granted. Another looming fear among refugees is the safety of their loved ones still in Afghanistan who face an unknown future under the Taliban. The World Food Programme reported that Afghanistan is rapidly becoming the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis, with 8.7 million people facing emergency levels of hunger this winter. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan recently ordered the immediate shipment of $28.5 million worth of humanitarian assistance, including food commodities, emergency medical supplies and winter shelters to assist Afghanistan in its time of need.

FROM A CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE

AFGHANISTAN
POPULATION: ± 39.6 MILLION CHRISTIAN: 0.02% (known)
EVANGELICAL:  0.02% (known)
UNREACHED GROUPS: 68 (100% of pop.)

How one welcomes the ‘foreigner’ speaks volumes to the heart of Christ within a person and is a test of the values at the core of a Christian’s spiritual identity – whether we put the Word of God into action.  1 John 3:18 (ESV) says, “…let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” Despite the approval backlog and some loud voices opposing immigration, there are reports of believers across America and the globe who are loving in deed and not just in word. The CRN (Crisis Response Network)* – a network of Christian partners who coordinate a strategic, compassionate, and sustainable response to crises – is currently assisting Afghan families to start a new life in different countries by raising finances for visa processing.  US churches have been at the forefront of those welcoming Afghans who have fled their homes in search of safety, freedom, and hope for a better future. Many have committed to helping asylum-seekers adjust to their new life by finding housing, healthcare, English classes, education, work, and meeting other needs. This is also an opportunity for the American Church to unite and put aside theological, social, and political differences – to work together for the good of those in urgent need and for the expansion of the gospel to those who may never have heard the name of Jesus once in their lifetime.

Please pray with us for the following:

  • For a streamlining of the application system so that Afghan refugees can be more swiftly processed
  • For those Afghans still attempting to leave Afghanistan to find the assistance needed
  • For the Church to continue seizing opportunities through their actions to share the hope found in Christ with those desperate for safe refuge and a new life

*To find out more about how you can partner with the CRN in assisting Afghan families, follow the link below: https://crisisresponsenetwork.net/afghanistan-crisis/

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Image: REUTERS/Diego Radames

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